My Foray Into the World of Colour

Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis (Ragunan Zo...

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There are some things we just instinctively know we shouldn’t attempt, that bad things would happen if we even so much as tried to do them.  Things like bull fighting…yep, I just know that would end up badly or shark taming, can’t see a good ending to that one either.            

Oh, I’ve done some adventuresome things.  I’ve sky dived many times, scuba dived in the cold waters of the north pacific.  In Northeast Asia I shared my bed, and my meals for that matter, with cockroaches the size of small cats. I’ve used toiletless toilets. I’ve ridden marauding elephants (okay, not really but it sounds good doesn’t it?).  I did ride on the neck of an elephant but she was far from marauding. She did, however, have an affinity for trotting into the bush for food resulting in both us being covered in ants.  I’ve been mugged by monkeys.  Darn things stole all my peanuts! And, I’ve come face to face with a Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat (and walked away without filling my pants, thank you very much).            

But I have never, ever attempted to colour my own hair. Nope, some things just need to be left to the experts. However, my oldest daughter has been harassing me for months to put a stripe of colour in her hair.  Ah Ha! I thought slyly, who better to experiment on than some young innocent? Being somewhat on the frugal end of the spectrum, I decided that if we were going to embark on this adventure together that I would be attempting this feat myself.            

So off I went on the hunt for just the right colour.  Of course, it had to be something on the more outrageous side, preferably pink.  Wouldn’t you know it that 3 hours later with 10 stores behind me I still could not find anything other than the standard run of the mill hair colour.  Finally I found something called Punked Out but the only colour’s left were blue and purple.  I picked them up anticipating a battle on the home front when my daughter realized I could not find the colour she wanted but to my surprise she was so excited to colour her hair that she didn’t really care.   Whew!  if you knew my daughter you would understand my great relief over that reaction.            

I was smart enough to put on clothes that I wouldn’t worry about staining.  I, however, forgot to pick up the special brush required to administer the hair dye.  Ahhhh, I thought, I’m just doing a streak or 2 I’ll just use my fingers…smart right?  Uh, not so much really.  After a finger dip in the jar I soon realized that if I did not want to look like some mutant strain of the  Avatar species I’d better put on some rubber gloves.  Remember, I’ve never done this before.            

I carefully segregated the portion of my daughter’s hair I wanted to colour and with my fingers proceeded the spread the gooey stuff on her hair.  Of course, my 3-year-old had to get in on the action so while my oldest was sitting out her 15 minutes I got started on her.  While I had been smart enough to change my clothes, I hadn’t considered the girls’ clothes.  This blue and purple goop ended up everywhere.  All over their jammies, my floor rug, the countertop and them.  I left her to sit while I rinsed out my oldest girl’s hair only to realize that I didn’t leave it in long enough and had to completely redo it.            

After having turned the sink blue on the first rinse I came up with what I thought was a brilliant solution.  I would just strip them down, put them in the shower and wash it all off.  The trick was how to get their jammies off without doing any more damage.  Suffice it to say that they will not be wearing those jammies at any sleepovers ever again.  As my 3-year-old was the first ready to hit the shower, I stripped her down and tossed her in.  Now not only was I soaking wet but in addition to my blue floor rug, countertop and sink, I now had a blue shower and a little girl with stripes of blue running down her body.  I had inadvertently striped my daughter blue!  This was turning out to be a disaster!            

I had better luck with my oldest now that I knew I had to be extra careful washing the colour out her hair.  I was thinking this had better have been worth all this effort!             

I pulled the girl’s out of the shower and blow dried their hair only to find out that you could barely see the colour.  Oh, in the right light you can see a highlight of blue on their hair but you have to be looking really closely to see it.  The only real vibrant blue anywhere was my oldest daughter’s scalp.   The skin where she parts her hair was vivid blue!  How in the world was I going to hide that?  And this is a semi-permanent hair colour.  I have no idea how long it will take for the colour to wash out.            

So, this morning I strategically did my daughter’s hair to hide the blue streak on her scalp and sent her off to school hoping she didn’t endure any teasing.  She doesn’t do teasing well.            

I should have followed my instincts.  The next time I want to take a foray into the world of colour I’ll be calling in the experts!            


Rabbit Poop Anyone?

Child in high chair eating at dining room table.

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This blog entry is not for the faint of heart.  I recommend a vomit bag, you know the kind that you can find in any airplane near you.  Seeing as we don’t all have airplane’s near us a plastic, disposable grocery bag or bowl of some sort will also do in a pinch.           

We all know that children have a habit of putting the most unpalatable items in their mouths.  My son though, takes the rabbit poop, so to speak.   If I could have entered him in an episode of “Fear Factor” we would have hands down been the winner of the bugs and food portion of the competition.            

This morning I watched him throw out a lollypop, only to realize that he was not going to get another one and head straight back to the garbage can, fish out the old one and pop it back in his mouth.               

Despite his affinity for putting items in his mouth that really don’t belong there, I never really needed to worry about the girl’s polly pockets or small Barbie accessories.  Nope, he didn’t go for that kind of stuff.  He wanted things he could REALLY sink his teeth into.  Things that he knew would get the reaction of utter mortification from his parents.  I mean, really, why chow down on a little Jimmy Choo when you had a garbage can full of coffee grounds at your disposal?  I of all people understand the allure of coffee.  It is without a doubt my all time favorite beverage.  If I had to be marooned on a deserted island my one must have would be coffee….but eating coffee grounds? He would grab them by the handful straight out of the garbage and, you guessed it, deposit them right into his mouth.  Have you ever tried cleaning coffee grounds out of a toddler’s mouth?                

 Ants are another plentiful resource in our backyard and a favorite food for our little guy.   While the idea of these little creepy crawlies meandering around the inside of my son’s mouth is none too pleasant, it certainly could have been worse.  He could have chosen spiders…..shiver….               

Then there was the time he decided to take a bite into a dishwasher tab.  Now THAT was just plain dangerous.  Poison Control Centre, here we come.  He threw up like he was a member of some elite military force using the power of vomit to disembowel his enemies.  But, in the end, that was a good thing.  Better that than the alternative and thankfully no damage was done.               

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the granddaddy of all things that should NOT enter or even come within striking distance of anybody’s mouth.   Remember the aforementioned comment foreshadowing rabbit poop? Yes, you heard (or read) me right…..rabbit poop.   Our front yard is full of it and yes last summer when he was about 8 months old I saw him pick something up off the front lawn and watched as this little item made its way towards the orifice closest at hand, his mouth.  I felt as though I was in one of those movies, you know the kind, where everything pauses and moves into slow motion.  I can picture myself now slowly reaching out with my hand and mouthing the word “NNNNNOOOOO!!!!”.  I didn’t make it.  By the time I reached him he was joyfully rolling that little piece of poo all around  his mouth.  I had to resist the urge to run him in the house and rinse his mouth out with bleach or make him swallow a bottle of Purell.              

At least I now have some ammunition.  When he comes home with that girlfriend I really don’t approve of, well, let’s just say that she and I will be sitting ourselves down to have a little chat about rabbit poop.               

Motherhood – A Dangerous Occupation

Has anybody ever sat down and really thought of the dangers of motherhood?  The injuries we sustain, never mind the mental deprivation we suffer is really quite significant.  In my short 7 years in this gig I have suffered untold numbers of injuries as a direct result of motherhood. 

There should be some sort of work place injury claim that we mothers, and fathers for that matter, should be entitled to.  The injuries sustained from tripping and falling over toys is a given to any parent but occasionally you have a couple of really good doozies that warrant a little extra mention.

The first one, that I can remember (being that motherhood also results in mental incapacities and memory loss), happened about a year ago.  I had the misfortune of having a very sassy 2 year old little girl…shocking, I know.  Ohhh, I was mad.  Couldn’t tell you now why exactly but flames were shooting out my nose, my eye’s were red as hot coals and my ears were spouting steam!  Wish I had a picture of that expression (or maybe I’m just as glad I don’t).  Fittingly,  it wasn’t too far off from Halloween!  On top of whatever it was that she’d done, she adamantly refused to go to her room for a time out.  Leaving it up to me to provide her a direct escort.   The only problem is that she wasn’t moving and I was.  My foot made contact with her tiny little ankle and I was stopped in my tracks by a stabbing pain.  I looked down to find her tiny little heel wedged between my 4th toe and my pinky toe and my pinky toe sticking straight out at a 90 degree angle.  I promptly popped that toe back in place, hauled her up to her room and collapsed in a heap.  Who’da thought breaking a pinky toe could be so darned painful? In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure the time-out was worth the broken toe.

More recently, the stairs and I got a little better acquainted.  No idea what happened.  We’ve all done it though.  Somehow while going down the stairs our feet happen to slip out from under us and down we go. Usually we have the benefit breaking our fall but this time I happened to be holding my 18 month old baby  boy.  The Canadian Olympic Dive Team would have been proud.  They just might have offered me a spot on their next competition.  The twists and turns, all in an attempt to avoid my little guy from being the one to make contact with those pesky stairs, really were world class.  The bruise could have been documented in the Guinness Book of World Records and I was stiff and sore for MONTHS!  But, my son was uninjured and I never even received an honourable mention. 

Then just the other day I was doing my motherly duty fighting off the attacks of various species of war mongering, violent monsters when 2 of them (together weighing in excess of 90 pounds) landed squarely on my head!  With my brute strength, prowess and uncanny intelligence, I managed to defeat and obliterate the enemy (okay, okay, they cleared the area when I started whimpering like a little baby).  I am positive they gave me a mild concussion.  It’s about 5 days later and I still have a headache.

Who would have ever thought that motherhood would turn out to be such a dangerous occupation?

WHAT? Viagra? Whose little Brainstorm was THAT?

viagra is a commercial produced medicine conta...

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Just when we women thought we had a little something to look forward to in our old age (namely, impudence) some scientist had to ruin it all and come up with a little pill called Viagra. On top of that they keep coming up with other products to stimulate the whole romp in the bed thing. Did anybody ever think to ask US whether or not we wanted some drug to put our men back on the prowl? We women really don’t need any more encouragement for our men, thank you very much.

Really, we were doing just fine before that little brainstorm. Why couldn’t they have come up with something a little more useful? I would have much preferred the invention of an automatic laundry folder.

Nothing personal here guys but really after we’ve popped out the kids and are now relegated to spending our days cleaning up somebody else’s bodily functions on little to no sleep, sex is the furthest thing from our minds. Look, the deed is done and the mission is accomplished so we can shut down the factory and clamp up the pipes!

It’s just another something somebody wants from us, another mess to clean up after and another obstacle in our pursuit of an early night. You just KNOW it wasn’t a woman who invented this little product.

Let’s implore these scientists to start working towards something a little more in line with what we women want. If we have to stimulate anything, can we stimulate the use of laundry baskets? Maybe we can develop a drug that would encourage cleaning???? Or, a little something we can slip in their evening beer that would “de-stimulate”.

Really, where were we women in the thought process of this product? Oh yeah, we were cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, breaking up fights, doing laundry, making lunches, helping with homework, chauffuering to various events, volunteering at school and out of school activities, making Dr. and dentist appointments, scheduling haircuts and cleaning up dog poo. Whew! I feel like a little activity in the love den now…..NOT!

Well, Baby, Baby.

My baby turned 2 today. Not sure how I feel about that just yet. On one hand I am thrilled to be one day closer to being diaper free (whoot! whoot!). On the other hand….my BABY turned 2!

I’m the first to jump in, if it hasn’t become painfully obvious just yet, and blabber on about the trials and tribulations of motherhood. A more difficult job you will never find. On top of that we mother’s have to listen to everybody else tell us how we should be raising our kids and what disciplinary techniques we should employ (in comes Nanny 911). I have a dear friend who will appreciate THIS reference – HI’YA CL! There really is no more thankless and underappreciated job than motherhood. But, there is a reward, besides that of seeing our children grow into self-supporting, respectful adults. It’s a reward that will be a long time coming but when it comes it will be SWEET! “Mom, you were right. Mom, how’d you DO it?”. I know this because its the reward my Mom received when I had my own children.

There is some mourning in seeing my son reach the milestone age of 2. I’ll never bring another little newborn baby home again. I’ll never feel that soft little body melding into mine. I’ll never again experience that first real smile or that first real hug or those first steps. Call me wierd but I loved watching all my babies poo. It was like watching playdoh being squeezed through a mold. Kinda cool!

On the other hand, I will never miss childbirth, afterbirth, beforebirth or any other event including the word “birth”. I won’t miss my uterus frantically trying in vain to return to its normal size. Neither will I miss the pelvic exercises and desperate attempts to not pee myself while my bladder returns to its former shape.

I guess you could say it’s a bittersweet occasion but really there’s a whole lot more sweetness than bitterness. I’ve got years left to watch him grow and mature. It’s been a real journey up to this point and I am looking forward to the journey ahead of me and of him.

First though, I have to survive a little thing called potty training!

Seriously? ….. SERIOUSLY???!!!

Day 3 of school and already it is my second morning from hell.

Let’s backtrack just a little. You see, I live with a fashionista. Yes, a 6 year old fashionista! I spent the majority of each and every morning last year arguing with her about getting dressed in the morning.

I did not tell her what to wear, just what was or was not appropriate for the weather conditions and then I left it up to her to choose within that criteria. Even with that much freedom she still argued with me EVERY morning!

So, you can imagine that I tried very carefully this year to outfit her in clothes I thought she wouldn’t argue with me over.

There are several “rules” when it comes to clothes.

1. No jeans
2. No big bulky shoes
3. No shirts that are not in keeping with the most up to date fashions
4. No “boy like” clothes
5. Must be pink and colourful
6. No pants that are too long
7. Capri’s (made from material other than denim) are preferable.
8. All clothes must be made from a soft, t-shirt type material.

Apparently, there are few more rules that I was up until now unaware of:

1. Must drive your mother absolutely insane;
2. Ensure that all trips to store involve endless arguing.
3. Remember, if your mother is not a raving lunatic in 10 seconds flat, you have not done your job!

At the last minute we had to go and pick out indoor running shoes for her. What a nightmare. An hour, literally, in the aisles of Wal-mart while she cried and snivelled over not having shoes that were pink enough, or slim enough or some such other dribble!

It was an omen, an omen I tell ya!

So this morning in the throes of her temper tantrum (and mine too I might add) over why she couldn’t wear shorts to school when it was 5 degrees celsius outside I did the unthinkable. I threatened her…with boarding school! Yes, I did it. A threat I can’t follow through with because they don’t HAVE any boarding schools in Alberta for elementary school…I know because I looked and looked HARD.

Would it be cruel for me to fake a call to social services and have someone she doesn’t know pretend to be a foster care parent? I could drop her off, tell her she’s living with another family and let her sweat it out for a day or two? Would it be too much? Would it? *sigh*

Is this what I became a mother for? Can’t we have some sort of recycle program? You know, if it doesn’t work out we can give them back and they can be recycled into another child for another family?

Or maybe there should be some form of lifetime warranty so they can be returned in the event of defect (like a bad attitude!).

I’m not proud of myself. I admit it, I did freak out this morning but I will be damned if I will suffer 10 months of this….and to boot, I ran out of the good coffee and have to drink the really crappy (only for emergency) brand.

Coffee Gods, please grant me the patience to endure the endless squabbles over irrelevant fashion. Give me the insight to discover a truly effective consequence that does not involve the beating or maiming of my children and help me to maintain some semblance of sanity within this life of insanity. But, if I must go insane I want to at least choose my own reality that involves me, Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and a remote tropical island.

The Little Knowing Smile


Image by Aislinn Ritchie via Flickr

How in the world my family put up with me before I had children, I will never know. Yes, I admit it, I was one of those obnoxious women who knew exactly how to raise a child without ever having raised one of course.  I remember my family giving me that little knowing smile which I mistakenly took for condescension.  What did THEY know after all? I would learn from their mistakes (whatever THAT meant!  I didn’t know what I was talking about then and to this day I still don’t know what I was talking about).  Yes, I knew it all and when I had my first child I was going to raise her with rays of sunshine!  Never raise my voice, never raise my hand (by that I mean not even a tap on the diapered buttox).  She would listen to me and I to her and our relationship would be built on love and mutual respect (music cut in)….what a load of horse hooey!  I continued on my peace and love mission until at age 2 my little angel refused to go to sleep, had me up 6 times a night looking for monsters and started backing out of our agreement on mutual respect.  It was becoming a VERY one-sided relationship.  Add to the mix a new baby when she was three and another when she was five and there went my vision of peace and harmony!  By the time she was five (and still up 3 times a night), she had a younger sister who suffered daily night terrors and a baby brother who was up 5 times a night for a bottle.  Yes, we lived on about 3 hours of sleep a night for about a year and a half.  The flower in my power had turned to fluff.  We were now in survival mode! 

Believe me, I read all the literature, subscribed to all the newsletters and listened to all the experts.  I knew what I was supposed to do but nobody bothered to inform my children on what exactly it was that THEY were supposed to do and they sure weren’t listening to me during our little tete e tete’s.  I wish someone could have told my son that 2 minutes of crying does NOT mean he needs to empty his entire stomach and intestinal contents all over me. 

I have since come to the conclusion that these so-called experts fall into one of the following categories: 

  1. Never had a child (aka obnoxious childless woman – ME);
  2. Part of a 2 parent household with only 1 child (sibling rivalry results in hair loss, hearing loss and mind loss – just ask Jon Gosselin);
  3. Father who only has access to his children every other weekend; or
  4. Father in 2 parent household who has managed to spend the better part of his years locked away in a little office writing books about raising children never having actually participated in the raising of his own children.

Having learned the error of my ways, you will never again see me judging or criticising another Mom.  I have walked in their shoes.  I continue to walk in their shoes.  Now when I listen to a young woman talking about her theories on raising children I don’t say a word.  I just smile that little knowing smile and walk away……Come see me in 10 years or so and THEN we’ll talk! 

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